Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

Save Birth Choices - Australian Families Deserve a VOICE and a CHOICE

Australian women are entitled to make an informed choice about where, how and with whom we give birth.

In most other developed countries, except USA where there is a total medical monopoly, women can choose between the midwifery model of care and the medical approach.

Getting care from midwives who are obliged to work within strict obstetric guidelines is still the medical model.

Only midwives who are independent of these fear-based, legal-butt-covering obstetric policies can truly offer women the midwifery model - which provides a woman with her the best go at a natural birth. Examples: independent home birth midwives, and midwives who work in a free-standing, independent birth centre.

These options need to be on the menu of birth choices available to Australian families.

In this chapter of my blog you can read about the Government's plans to criminalise homebirth, limit natural birth options, and hand over the birthing women of Australia to the control of the medical lobby.

The women of Australia are not going to take this lying back in stirrups. . .

This is the submission I sent to the various enquiries, and to senators and MPs:
Birth at home should be an available option

This article appeared in our local newspaper, the Upper Yarra Mail:

Yarra Valley Women Want Birth Choices

Now maybe you are like many mothers and fathers and you feel you wouldn't necessarily choose homebirth for yourself. But you'd like a fair go at a relatively natural birth in a birth centre or hospital. And you think homebirth should be AN option even if it's not necessarily YOUR option. THIS AFFECTS YOU and it will affect your daughters. We really don't want to see Australia go the way of the USA. So, please read this next post and see what you can do to protect our basic birthing rights and freedoms.

10 Things You Can Do For Birth Reform

Marsden Wagner worked with the WHO for 15 years. Here you can read the WHO's recommendations for maternity care. How they contrast with what we're really getting in Australia. In a recent email to birth activist Sarah Langford, Wagner wrote: "the people of Australia cannot be fooled all the time and value their freedom too highly... Australia does not want an international outcry against them and to be seen as unable to prevent unjustified medical dominance of normal family life.”
Read more here:

Marsden Wagner on Birth Reform in Australia

Here is a thoughtful and intelligent article published in The Age. Monica Dux asks, "If we truly live in a society where women are granted ownership of their own bodies, and if home births, properly supported, are a safe option, then why shouldn't women have the right to choose that option?"

It's a woman's right to choose how she births - by Monica Dux

On August 4th, 300 people gathered outside Nicola Roxon's office in Maribyrnong, leaving "calling card" for her - photos of homebirthing families, with names and addresses. Senator Fielding spoke as did several mothers and midwives. Next: September 7 in Canberra!

Keep writing your letters to Senators, to Ms. Roxon, to your local MPs. You are entitled to a voice and now is the time to raise it. We all know that this is about the rights of women, babies and families, to have safe alternative to the medical, corporatised monopoly over birth, an event which holds profound significance and important repercussions for each one of us.

Don't let cultural norms, the economic climate, politics, laws, increasing technologisation of family life, beliefs, misinformation, scare tactics, expectations from family, friends, society or government, lack of freedom, the failure of democracy, oppression, persecution or ANYTHING else prevent you from choosing the safest, gentlest, wisest way to give birth, for the sake or your well-being, your baby's well-being and that of you family and everyone in it.

Regardless of what the law will be from next July onwards, we need to see the bigger picture. Right around the world, natural values and feminine wisdom is being denigrated and marginalised. In every society where technology is advancing, natural living skills are being lost, sometimes irretrievably. In countries where this is not a mutually honouring balance between the wisdom of the masculine and the wisdom of the feminine, you see the feminine being dominated, and vital wisdom and skills being trodden under foot.

Every woman knows deep in her heart and soul what she is capable of and what she needs to give birth safely. You can't look at what is available, what is "allowed", what is even "legal" and then try to work within that. You need to start with your own deep wisdom, your own vision of what you know is right and safe and good for you when you are birthing. And then - choose that. And do whatever you need to achieve that.

Underground or not, we in Australia are part of a network of women and men in every country who are clinging onto the remnants of natural wisdom and knowledge, to preserve the love and gentleness and compassion needed to nuture our unborns, birth them safely, and parent them gently and kindly.

Don't give up and don't let any authority of home, church, state or peer group, dictate what is accepable for you. Access your own inner wisdom, know the heart of God for you and for all women, then reach out to support, and feel the support of, women (and caring men) all around the world who instinctively know that these things are too precious to lose and cannot be wrested from our possession so easily.

Here is some footage of the rally by Midwife Jane Palmer, for anyone who couldn't make it. Despite the rain, it was an exhilarating experience. As Justine Caines said: "Ignore us at your peril!"

The Real Birth Wars

Another Submission to the Senate Committee - December 2009

But can I still have a homebirth? Aren't they making it illegal?


BIB said...

It is every woman's right to birth how and where she desires. I will be attending the Save Birth Choices Rally in Canberra on September 7th with pride & I encourage all other women to do the same. "My birth, my body, my choice".

daisy said...

If I had've know the full extent of services provided by a doula when I had my first child, I would have chosen a doula instead of my midwife. Doulas are indispensable to the birthing process. They provide true woman-to-woman care.

Claire Hall said...

Hi Daisy,
I understand completely where you are coming from. My personal belief is that midwifery as a whole has lost sight of who they are - with woman - and have become far too medical. In reality, all midwives should really BE doulas, but I don't think all are. this is a gross generalisation of course, and I know many midwives who are worth their weight in gold. I also think we need to be careful not to place too much on the shoulders of wonderfully dedicated doulas. for more check out my website and blog

Tamsenne said...

If the proposed legislation gets passed it will be a HUGE regression for women here in Australia. This is an issue about women's rights not a minority group's plea to be heard. Even those women that I have spoken to about this issue that do not choose to give birth at home are appalled that we could be robbed of the right to choose!

artymama said...

Thanks for posting this info Julie, such important information for the wider world. This IS a human rights issue and I find it hard to believe I am living in a 'free' country when legislation such as this is proposed. I hope the government does listen to the voices of the people. Shout it loud and proud!!

Leonie said...

After a beautiful, joyous and pain-free water birth at home with my wonderful midwife and doula earlier this year it breaks my heart to see what is happening. My whole family including grandparents will be at the rally!

Missy said...

After 2 horrible hospital births I wanted to birth my 4th at home. Your doing a great thing protesting. I can't believe they would even consider making it illegal to practice without insurance :( I hope this all works and I can go on to birth #4 at home how I want.

M xo

BethWeb said...

Many thanks for all your work, Julie, including the bumper stickers! Will see you in Canberra on Sept 7 to remind the powers that be that homebirthers mustn't be denied the right to have their midwives with them to birth.

Anonymous said...

I will be at the rally alongside all of you. Choice dammit, choice!!!

Emma Someone said...

I sadly won't be there on 07/09 but I am there in spirit and in face (I bought my virtual rally ticket!). It's an appalling and complicated and devestating issue and one that upsets me greatly. Hopefully there is a point to my studying to be a midwife - this change comes just 6 months before I finish my degree and currently puts the kibosh on my future employment plans.

treebytheriver said...

Emma, congrats on working towards your BMid. Australian families need midwives like you. Don't let the AMA/Government stop you!

Jo Askham said...

I have birthed through the hospital system and the journey of a homebirth. I have worked with women in lots of birth settings. To not give woman and families the choice and consideration of a homebirth seems a denial of our natural rites. I will be there in Canberra to let Parliament know that a law like this will not be taken lying down and in stirrups.

Jo Askham
Mother/Doula/Human Being

Aurora Everwinter said...

Women everywhere UNITE! this is not just about saving homebirth, it is saving EVERY woman's choice to birth WHERE EVER and HOW EVER they want.
what will be next? everyone has to "deliver" their babes with an epidural, and then next it will be caesareans....i don't like the road our government is taking us down. and i wont stand for it either.

thankyou for this article Julie, you're such an amazing woman and a beautiful soul.

Currawong said...

Thanks Julie, for such an informative post! The rally was a magnificent show of how passionate about their choice homebirthers are.

It disturbs me that even the homebirth supporters in Government talk only about 'low risk' births as being viable for homebirth. It is important that even if and when midwives get insurance that the right to CHOOSE where she births is left up to the woman no matter what 'high risk' complication they are faced with. Women can inform themselves and arbitrary rules are usually just that - arbitrary. I am fearful that we're going to end up with homebirth still being an option but only for 'low risk' women and births.

Thanks heaps for the photos!
X Amber

Michelle Meares said...

Thanks Julie for your words and your passionate voice for women.

Birth is such a fundamental part of being a woman. Wherever we choose to birth these archaic laws affect us and our children.

I was reading the other day how private hospitals in brazil have 93% c-section rates. Scary stuff!

My daughter has been to 2 homebirths with an independent midwife now and to think she can't make that choice one day is ludicrous. I'm asking her to write a submission to the senate too - the government is trying to take her birthing choices away also.

Thank you for standing up for us all.